Heavy snow factors into collapse of The Dome sports complex
September 9, 2019
The collapse of “The Dome” – an Anchorage sports complex – over the weekend, has left some people wondering whether their own roofs can withstand the weight of the recent heavy snowfall.Listen nowMike Martin, the board chairman for Anchorage Sportsplex Inc. – the Dome, said exactly what caused the facility to collapse Saturday is still under investigation, but snow appears to be a significant factor.“We’re also trying to determine whether or not there are other factors, and if so, what they are,” Martin said. “There’s a lot of things that go into keeping The Dome standing and inflated, and including management of the snow load.”The Dome opened in 2006, and has survived heavy snowfall in the past.But, does The Dome’s collapse mean Anchorage residents should shovel their own roofs?Kent Kohlhase, the acting building official for the Municipality of Anchorage, said snow loads are still fairly light, and while homes should not be in imminent danger, he said it’s a good idea for residents to keep an eye on their roofs.“They know best the issues that they may have had in the past with their homes with things such as ice damming and water leaks and things like that, and where snow may drift and pile up,” Kohlhase said. “So really a homeowner should always take the time to monitor things.”Even with warmer temperatures and a chance for rain later in the week, Kohlhase said it’s unlikely the snow load will reach a dangerous weight.But, if you do clear off your roof, Kohlhase urges caution. He also recommends leaving a buffer of snow.“Certainly be very careful and we’d recommend against using an ice chipper, but leaving that snow provides a layer of protection and also provides for better footing for somebody when they’re up on a pitched roof,” Kohlhase said.Kohlhase said the Municipality is working with officials at The Dome, to determine the cause of the structure’s collapse.Though there’s no precise timetable, Martin said The Dome can and will be repaired.“The manufacturer has indicated that the damage, to whatever degree it is, is repairable,” Martin said. “And that we will do so as quickly as possible.”Until then, Martin said other organizations have reached out to provide temporary space to some Dome users – which number in the thousands each week during the winter.